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Costa Mesa Police Department
Friday January 24th, 2014 :: 03:04 p.m. PST


A reminder to be aware of and protect yourselves from becoming the victim of a telephone scam

Although no one is immune from the scam artist, based on local reporting, the most commonly targeted groups are our elderly and ethnic communities. These groups are targeted based on their perceived vulnerabilities. Awareness of and education about these scams is our best tool at fighting back.

A couple of the most common phone scams reported often involve:

• Winning a cash prize in a contest you did not enter. The catch, in order to claim the prize, a portion of the winnings must be paid first to cover taxes, etc.
• A call from a person claiming to be a relative, most often a grandchild, who says they are in jail and needs bail money sent via money order.

The phone scam which has recently resurfaced in our area targets Southern California Edison (SCE) customers, primarily those who own small business. It involves callers demanding immediate payment for allegedly past due electricity bills.

Imposters have been calling SCE customers telling them they must make immediate payment on past due bills or have their electric service disconnected. The callers demand payment be made through a prepaid cash card and/or that the customer purchase a prepaid debit card (Green Dot). The scammer then asks for the debit card number and collects the value deposited on the card.

As with any call received wherein payment is requested over the phone, be diligent in requesting more information about the caller including their name, the business they are representing and a return phone number where they can be reached. If a caller refuses to provide this information, you should terminate the call and report the incident.

In the case of Southern California Edison imposters, customers should contact SCE at 800-655-4555 to report and document the incident. They have provided the link which provides additional safety tips.

If you become aware of other telephone scams, please report the incident to the Costa Mesa Police Department

Costa Mesa Police Department
99 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-754-5252

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